“TechShop” Movement Discussion Summary

Four individuals from i3 Detroit were able to attend a “TechShop” Movement discussion at the UofM Business Engagement Center on Tuesday evening.. We wanted to take a moment to share our thoughts and outlook from this discussion as we have had a lot of you asking for an update.

Tuesday was a giant leap for the Maker Movement in Detroit. Not only did we gather many local groups with similar interests (i3 Detroit, Detroit Industrial Arts League, a2geeks, Coffee House Coders, etc), entrepreneurs and universities, we had Make Magazine & TechShop all in the same room. The atmosphere was a mix of innovation and inspiration. It was exciting to get all the “M.B.A.s”, as Nate coined them, brainstorming and see their heads nodding during the presentations. With big names like Jim Newton, from TechShop & Dale Dougherty, from Make Magazine, it was just the ignition we needed to give the Movement in Detroit a starting platform that all of us have been trying so hard to do.

Do we think this is a replacement or a competition for i3 Detroit, absolutely not. Mark Hatch, TechShop COO, said that any growth to the industry segment is positive for both TechShop and those individual groups. This will bring more notoriety to the movement and empower people to think creatively about projects.

Some of the main points that we covered at the meeting were:

* TechShop and Maker Faire considering Detroit, but skeptical of the market/interest
* Interest is split between Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit
* Detroit is not Silicon Valley, but still has many makers
* Interest is present largely underground, and Detroit needs a way to foster communication within the creative community

The overall feeling from the i3 Detroit Members was that everyone genuinely wanted to hear about our experience with i3, and eager to work with us to help cultivate a pro-maker culture in Detroit.We feel that everyone agreed that great things would happen more often if disparate groups that don’t normally hang out together spent more time in each other’s territories. Over dinner, we discussed a number of help-for-startups opportunities provided by various groups.

We would like to Thank everyone from the UofM for putting this event on! We would also like to Thank Dale Dougherty from Make magazine as well as Jim Newton & Mark Hatch from the TechShop for taking the time to come and speak with all of us here in Michigan.